William Wyler (1959)

PG Certificate


Our Score
Back in 1959, this epic was the most costly movie ever made. Charlton Heston won his only best actor Oscar as the chariot-driving, galley-rowing Jewish nobleman who takes all that the Roman Empire can throw at him, thanks to his traitorous boyhood friend Messala (Stephen Boyd). Some critics believe that William Wyler's box-office smash is no match for the 1925 silent version, but there's no denying that the chariot race that forms the famous climax is one of the most iconic sequences in Hollywood history - a thousand-strong force toiled for a year to construct the 18-acre arena, which was eventually filled with 8,000 extras. The film, in all, used over 300 sets, 40,000 tons of sand (for the chariot track) and swept up a record 11 Oscars, a total that was equalled in 1998 by James Cameron's Titanic and in 2004 by Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.


A Jewish prince in first-century Jerusalem is reunited with an old Roman friend, who is now the governor of Judea. However, their differing political views over local dissent leads to a bitter quarrel, and the governor uses the pretext of an accident to sell him into slavery and imprison his mother and sister. Years later, the prince returns, determined to seek revenge and find his missing family. Oscar-winning epic, starring Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd and Haya Harareet.

Cast & Crew

Judah Ben-Hur Charlton Heston
Messala Stephen Boyd
Esther Haya Harareet
Quintus Arrius Jack Hawkins
Sheik Ilderim Hugh Griffith
Miriam Martha Scott
Tirzah Cathy O'Donnell
Pontius Pilate Frank Thring
Simonides Sam Jaffe
Balthasar Finlay Currie
Drusus Terence Longdon
Tiberius George Relph
Malluch Adi Berber
Joseph Laurence Payne
Sextus André Morell
Christ Claude Heater
Mary Jose Greci
Director William Wyler
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourGuidance: Some violence. Available on: video, DVD and Blu-ray